Cambodia bars Alternative Nobel Prize winners from travel to awards

Ole von Uexkull, CEO and member of the jury for the Right Livelihood Awards, speaks during a news conference at Culture House in Stockholm on Sept. 29, 2022. - AP

STOCKHOLM (dpa): Three winners of this year's Right Livelihood Awards will not be allowed to travel to Stockholm for the award ceremony, according to the organisers.

Cambodian environmental activist group Mother Nature Cambodia were announced as winner of the awards, commonly known as the "Alternative Nobel Prizes," last week.

However, a Cambodian court ruled that three representatives of Mother Nature - Phoun Keo Raksmey, Thon Ratha and Long Kunthea - would be denied permission to travel to Sweden, the Right Livelihood Foundation said. The foundation called for a review of the decision.

"Right Livelihood stands in solidarity with Mother Nature Cambodia and their continued efforts to protect the environment and the livelihoods of current and future generations of Cambodians," the foundation said in a statement.

Swedish news agency TT said the three activists had all received suspended prison sentences for their work to protect natural resources in Cambodia.

According to the report, they were convicted of inciting serious crimes in 2021 and barred from travelling abroad without permission from the court.

The European aid organisation SOS Méditerranée, the women's rights activist Eunice Brookman-Amissah from Ghana and the environmentalist Phyllis Omido from Kenya are also to receive awards at a ceremony in Stockholm on Nov 29.

The award has a broad remit, and has honoured champions of human rights, the environment and peace since 1980.

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